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haiti

13 articles
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What They Say About Happily Ever After

An early excerpt in honor of this week's publication of An Untamed State (Grove Atlantic), Gay's debut novel.

"Most of the city was asleep or laying low. I ran down a dark, unfamiliar street, my bare feet slapping against the pavement. I ran to find my way back to my happily ever after. It was dark and hot and still. I ran over shards of broken glass, felt my skin come neatly apart. I bled. My feet were slickly wet. I did not stop running. The Commander told me to run until I could not run anymore so that is what I did. My thighs burned. It felt strange to be able to move so freely, to breathe fresher air. I wanted someone to find me. I wanted to stop. I kept running. When I passed people standing in their doorways or ambling down the street, I stiffened, knew they could not be trusted, so still, I ran. I saw a cross rising into the sky, reaching up. A church would be a safe place. I hoped."

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Running the Lines for Fulgence

In a Haitian tent city, a referee prepares for a soccer game.

"Almost unconsciously, I began gathering various items from the tent: my official registration card, a couple of Fox whistles, two pairs of black socks, a black undershirt, an armband, two flags, my kangaroo-leather turf shoes, and then three different jerseys that I had so painstakingly preserved. I stuffed all of this into an Agency sack, which I normally used for collecting my ration of nourimil cereal."

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Into The Zombie Underworld

Separating truth from lore in Haiti: “The dossier was, at bottom, a murder story, the judge said—but it was a murder story with the great oddity that the victim did not die.”

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CIA Operatives, Barrels of Whiskey, and a Biker Named Thor

The story of Thor Holm Hansen—”Norwegian country singer, a former Outlaws motorcycle chieftain, and an ‘ambassador at large’ to a rebel Haitian government”—who claims to be back in Florida to locate his missing daughter.

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The People's Champion

In a fictionalized Haiti, a man explains the inner workings of the political landscape and his own shady rise to the role of Prime Minister.

"Yet…deciding to recount the entire tale, the whole historical record, as in order for events to work out as Richard wanted them to, then yes, he’d have to make good on his promise that everything would be made clear, revealed in one fashion or another—it’s probably best if I explain: Jean was once a senator in the Haitian senate, the second-youngest senator in Haiti’s history in fact, and as a senator, he was wildly inept. You can’t really find him totally at fault however, because Jean’s parents bought him his seat when he was fresh from school. I can’t fathom why, but my guess is that they knew he had no head for business and that there was nothing else he’d really be good for, so they had hoped that a career in politics would both keep him busy and allow them to control a portion of the country without too much effort. But well, Jean, Jean bloody fucked all that, what with his reckless politicking and all."

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In the Time of Cholera

The U.N.’s role in creating an epidemic in Haiti.

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How the World Failed Haiti

But despite all that has been promised, almost nothing has been built back in Haiti, better or otherwise. Within Port-au-Prince, some 3 million people languish in permanent misery, subject to myriad experiments at "fixing" a nation that, to those who are attempting it, stubbornly refuses to be fixed. Mountains of rubble remain in the streets, hundreds of thousands of people continue to live in weather-beaten tents, and cholera, a disease that hadn't been seen in Haiti for 60 years, has swept over the land, infecting more than a quarter million people.
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The Politics Of Driving/Town And Country, Part II

Early novel samples from one of my most influential college teachers.

"[T]o drive along any of the national highways meant you had indeed acquired value, but that your value had absolutely nothing to do with your worth as a unique individual."

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Apocalypse

On Haiti and why apocalypse, by definition, must include revelation.

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Giving "The Devil" His Due

Emmanuel “Toto” Constant, the founder of a barbaric Haitian paramilitary group, vanished from Port-au-Prince and resurfaced as a real estate agent in Queens.

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Welcome to Haiti's Reconstruction Hell

On the utter brutality of life in the tent cities, one year after the earthquake.

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Running in the Ruins

On the post-quake presidential election in Haiti.

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The Dividing Line

On the day of the earthquake, two men went into Haiti’s Soccer Federation headquarters. Only one came out.